Wherever you go, you can see people both the young and old, glued to their mobile phones. The world is turning to handheld devices for everything from shopping to social networking, mobile is becoming the loudest buzz in the digital marketing industry. With the increased mobility of Internet access, you can no longer ignore mobile SEO in your search marketing strategies.
Google is dedicated in providing its searchers with the best search results and user experience. This makes it all the more important to optimize your website and online marketing campaigns for mobile users. In this post we are focusing on the Mobile SEO practices that leading SEO & Digital marketing agencies in Mumbai, such as The Brand Saloon, follows. We will also discuss some common mistakes you should avoid –
1. Make your Website Mobile Friendly
The desktop version of your website may not be comfortable for a user to browse on a handheld device, because the user has to perform additional actions like zooming and scrolling to view the content. If you take a close look at the analytics, you can find that most mobile users would not want to take the pain of viewing your desktop site and simply bounce back to the search results.
You have three ways to make your website mobile friendly. You have to choose the type that suits your website’s features and other requirements. Before choosing the way, you should decide what you want your mobile visitors to see on the mobile version of your site.
One way to make your site mobile friendly is to use a Responsive Web Design. In a responsive website the HTML code and URL is same for both the desktop and mobile versions, but the CSS coding changes according to the screen sizes of the devices used to view the site. It is easier to maintain and is Google friendly too, but your flexibility of customizing mobile user experience is very limited.
Another way is to use the Dynamically Serving Web Design. In this setup, a server presents different versions of the website with different HTML/ CSS coding for the same URL, depending on the device requesting access to the site. The device will determine which version to accept in order to view the website in the best possible manner. You can customize the user experience with no restrictions, but it is costly and difficult to create and maintain as it involves multiple coding.
The third option is to have a separate mobile site. Here, you have a separate code base with a URL slightly different from the desktop version. For example, if your website’s URL is www.webexample.co.in, the mobile version will have the URL- m.webexample.co.in. You get greater customizability, but your website is prone to duplication and faulty redirect issues with search engines.
2. The Best Approach to Mobile SEO
• Optimizing Smartphone Load Time
Page load time on smartphones plays a very vital role in the ranking of your website on search engines. Google favours websites that load faster, because it seeks to provide the best user experience. Test your mobile site speed with tools like Pingdom, and implement the suggestions for improving the speed.
• Indexing your App
If you have a mobile app, you can index it on major search engines and have it appear on SERPs. This will let your potential customers visit your app page directly from the results page. Although, the click-through rate may not benefit your website’s rankings immediately, with time, it will help in you in reinforcing the overall digital marketing strategy for your brand.
• Using link rel= “canonical” and “alternate” tags in the Head section
If you are using a separate mobile site for handheld devices, it is important that you tell Google about it. In the HEAD section of the HTML code, add a link tag for each page as follows:
On the desktop website page, enter the following line:
<link rel= “alternate” media= “handheld” href= ;
On the mobile site page write the following line:
<link rel= “canonical” href= “http://www.webexample.co.in”/>
This will let Google know the relationship between the different versions of the website. This will help its search spiders to crawl your website better.
• Using Mobile Sitemaps
By having a sitemap, you can make it easier for the search crawlers to sift through the different categories of content on your website. If you have a separate mobile website, include in its sitemap only those URLs that are on the mobile site.
3. The Common Mistakes
• Wrong Redirects
When you design a separate mobile website, you are likely to make the mistake of faulty redirects. This happens when a link in the search result is not redirected to the right mobile URL. For example, if the product page of our example website-http://www.webexample.com/products is supposed to redirect to its mobile equivalent- , but instead it just redirects to the mobile site’s home page- . This will be regarded as a faulty redirect and Google will see it as a negative factor, because your links are not helping the visitors.
• Interlinks between Desktop and Mobile sites
If you are using responsive web design or dynamically served website, you may not face this problem. If you are using a separate mobile website, it is very likely that you may include some internal links that take a user from the mobile site to desktop site or vice versa. This can cause problems for users as they are taken to an undesired platform.
• Poor Presentation of Multimedia Content
With the rising speed of Internet access, you cannot ignore the fact that people can use their smartphones instead of a computer to view videos or images. Optimize your mobile site’s multimedia content for quick and easy access by users. It is recommended that you use HTML5 to include video and image content on your website and slowly move out of Flash, as it is not supported in all smartphones.
4. Reach out to the User
• Know your Audience
A mobile visitor’s intentions may be different from that of a desktop visitor. You should understand the objectives of a user who visits your website on a small screen and include features that are appropriate. Understanding your target audience will help you improve your mobile site’s user experience.
• Social Media
Social media is the ladder is to popularity in this Internet Age. As the visitors share the content on your mobile site on social networks, more and more people find out about your brand. Make sure that you include easily visible sharing buttons on your mobile site.
Get your mobile site listed on Google Places, Yahoo and Bing. It can help local searchers find your shop and reach out to you for business. Have a country specific domain name for a greater advantage on local searches. By localizing your site, whenever a user searches for a service in the local area, your website gets preference on the results.
• Content Quality
Never compromise on content, even if it is for the small screen, because it is the information that draws a visitor to your service. Having a quality content that convinces a visitor to click through is very vital for every mobile site. Shortening of content for your mobile site can result in higher bounce rates and fewer conversions. This is a negative signal that Google may act upon while evaluating your website’s relevance of the search results.
As the mobility of Internet access is rising every day, SEOs are constantly on the race to stay ahead of the mobile marketing trends around the world. If your brand needs that shot in the arm to reach out to the audience, it is not too late to avail the services of a digital marketing company.